Silent Bob came back from the back field.
“#12 is acting funny. She’s in the middle field lying down. The other cows are back there but they aren’t getting close to her.”
I didn’t pay much attention.
The 285 days from which #12 was bred and set to deliver her sweet black Angus baby had come and passed. We could only assume that she had miscarried or the bull never did what he should have.
(For some reason, I incorrectly assumed that several attempts to produce offspring in the less-than-humanoid fraction of mating entities were unnecessary. Not sure why I held this notion. I placed the responsibility squarely within the male pervue to assure this and …the failure to do so in the same arena. I now know why it’s not true. I have witnessed a broad range of animal males making the attempt, and well, quite frankly, they don’t seem to be as natural at the activity as I assumed they would be. I’ll not say any more than that.)
It wasn’t until a few hours later that I began to consider that #12 as well as the other girls had had a visitor some months back. Thinking that she was pregnant by a suitor we had chosen for her back then, I didn’t anticipate she might have gone out on a one night stand with the obviously very experienced old, huge Charolais bull from the south end neighbor’s pasture.
Apparently, her swaying udders and her swishy tail were more than that Frenchy bull could handle, and over the fence he had come. And now I was thinking, fast, he had his way with the then open #12… and Oh my gosh… she was laying down… she’s having a calf…! Oh my gosh.
We jumped in the golf cart and with me driving it was a rapid but extremely bumpy ride to the back corner where Bob had spotted her. Ninety pound Grandmother, along for the ride, was bouncing all over the place. I grabbed her and held her in, while we screamed into her good ear what was happening.
As we came over the rise of the hill, we could see #12 standing and something kind of weird at her legs.
There are a whole lot of feral hogs around and the closer we got, the more it looked like one of them, one of those feral pigs, was circling #12.
A whole different vision came over me.
We got closer.
The thing circling #12’s legs was distinctly….gray…with kind of a bluish tinge. And #12 was licking it.
We settled in about 20 feet from #12 and watched.
“Is that a calf?” Grandmother said, incredulous.
“If it is it’s the ugliest thing I have ever seen.” Grandmother has never one to mince words, but she had just voiced the thought that both Bob and I were having.
#12 licked her baby again.
“Well she loves it,” Grandmother stated, “But it sure is ugly.”
The calf was the oddest color I have ever seen. Wet from amniotic fluid, we could only hope that once she got dry she would look better. She had weird curly cow licks all over her pelt, from head to toe. Her color was a cross between a dirty white dish rag that has that weird blue gray color of gray water and some hue of white that in the sun almost looked blue. There was a small patch of normal tan up by her neck, which made the whole thing look even weirder. She was big. Very big. At least 80 pounds.
We watched as she tested her long, big legs, her hoofs bouncing ungainly off the ground as she walked, half slid around her mother. Her limbs jerked as walking neurons fired new paths in her brain as she hopped and misstepped and hopped again, only an hour or so old. Her mother did her moo thing so she knew who she belonged to.
I wondered if #12 saw colors.
The rest of the cows seemed to be staring. Heck we were all staring.
“It’s almost Halloween,” Grandmother stated, with a voice that was about to make an edict. “I think we have to name her Ghost.”
So Ghost she is, in violation of the first rule of cow ranching, to never name something whose life volition is predetermined to provide food.
Meet Ghost…and wouldn’t you know, she is about the most curious, friendly little thing you might ever have the chance to see.
Ugly she might be, but endearing she is becoming.
Not a good thing for us, but really good for her.